BKMT READING GUIDES



 
Addictive,
Dramatic,
Beautiful

1 review

Boy Swallows Universe
by

Published:
Paperback : 0 pages
5 members reading this now
25 clubs reading this now
1 member has read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
"The best book I read this decade." -Sharon Van Etten in Rolling Stone

“Boy Swallows Universe hypnotizes you with wonder, and then hammers you with heartbreak. . . . Eli’s remarkably poetic voice and his astonishingly open heart take the day. They enable him to carve out the best ...

No other editions available.
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
Jump to

Introduction

"The best book I read this decade." -Sharon Van Etten in Rolling Stone

“Boy Swallows Universe hypnotizes you with wonder, and then hammers you with heartbreak. . . . Eli’s remarkably poetic voice and his astonishingly open heart take the day. They enable him to carve out the best of what’s possible from the worst of what is, which is the miracle that makes this novel marvelous.” -Washington Post

A "thrilling" (New York Times Book Review) novel of love, crime, magic, fate and a boy’s coming of age in 1980s Australia, named one of the best literary fiction titles of 2019 by Library Journal.

Eli Bell’s life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail, and his stepdad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim—a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes—who watches over Eli and August, his silent genius of an older brother.

Exiled far from the rest of the world in Darra, a neglected suburb populated by Polish and Vietnamese refugees, this twelve-year-old boy with an old soul and an adult mind is just trying to follow his heart, learn what it takes to be a good man, and train for a glamorous career in journalism. Life, however, insists on throwing obstacles in Eli’s path—most notably Tytus Broz, Brisbane’s legendary drug dealer.

But the real trouble lies ahead. Eli is about to fall in love, face off against truly bad guys, and fight to save his mother from a certain doom—all before starting high school.

A story of brotherhood, true love, family, and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be. Powerful and kinetic, Trent Dalton’s debut is sure to be one of the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novels you will experience.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

No Excerpt Currently Available

Discussion Questions

From the publisher:

1. Slim’s view of the world is that: ‘We all got a bit o’ good and a bit o’ bad in us...’ Discuss the ways in which characters in the novel are both good and bad at the same time.
2. What do you think is the meaning of the red telephone, and the mysterious voice that speaks to Eli?
3. Do good life lessons remain valid if delivered by evil men?
4. What sort of man do you hope (or fear) Eli Bell will grow into?
5. What do you think, ultimately, Eli Bell is searching for in life and in that secret room?
6. Why do you think August chooses to be mute?
7. Does the knowledge that much of this novel is based on Trent’s own life change your reading of the book? Enhance it? Or does it not make a difference?
8. Do you think that the trauma that Mrs Birbeck talks about (p224) is a factor in Eli’s journey?
9. Do you think the novel is optimistic or pessimistic about the world?
10. Were there similarities or differences in the book to your own memories of 1980s suburban Australia?
11. Discuss the idea that August may have knowledge of future events and how this is suggested and also at times debunked.
12. ‘Do your time before it does you,’ says Slim. What does Eli take this to mean and how does he act on it?
13. The novel presents an interesting view of adults from a child’s perspective. What does it say about adults and particularly adult men? And what does Eli learn from this?


Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Boy Spins Story"by [email protected] (see profile) 03/16/21

Beautifully poetic, horrifying story. It was like reading a young person's cursive air-writing from the jump, woven through the plain terror of good adults doing very bad things until they can fight toward... (read more)

Rate this book
MEMBER LOGIN
Remember me
BECOME A MEMBER it's free

Join the leading website for book clubs with over 35,000 clubs and 20,000 reading guides.

SEARCH OUR READING GUIDES Search
Search




FEATURED EVENTS
PAST AUTHOR CHATS
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...